Port Haywood, VA asked in Elder Law for Florida

Q: I am successor trustee in my fathers trust. Am I able to sign the title of his car over to a buyer in the state of FL?

The car is paid for and is in his trust.

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3 Lawyer Answers
Terrence H Thorgaard
Terrence H Thorgaard
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Freeeport, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: If the car is registered in the name of the trust, yes.

Jason E. Neufeld agrees with this answer

Lauren Nagel Richardson
Lauren Nagel Richardson
Answered
  • Elder Law Lawyer
  • Gainesville, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: I agree with attorney Thorgaard that if the car is titled to the trust, and you are the successor trustee, then you will be able to transfer/sell the vehicle. You will need to take the death certificate and a copy of the trust agreement to the tag office.

However, I always recommend that successor trustees have at least a consultation with an estate planning attorney to review all the steps they will need to take during what is called the "period of administration" which is after the death of the grantor and up until the trust is fully distributed and terminated. Sometimes accounts need to be updated with an EIN, basis step up, trustee acceptance, trust certification, before they are distributed to trust beneficiaries. If there is real estate in the trust, then you will definitely need an attorney to prepare and record a trust certification, trustee's deed, and also record the death certificate. There may also be issues related to trust income taxes.

For these reasons, I think that it is prudent for every successor trustee to have a consultation with an attorney who is experienced in trust administration.

Jason E. Neufeld agrees with this answer

Jason E. Neufeld
Jason E. Neufeld
Answered
  • Elder Law Lawyer
  • Plantation, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: I agree with the two other answers. As trustee, you have the ability to take action with regard to any asset that is properly titled in the name of the trust (subject to the trust's limitations, i.e. it may direct you, as trustee, to sell the car and distribute the proceeds to one or more beneficiaries. Or it may direct you to transfer title to one particular beneficiary).

As my colleague stated, its worthwhile to have the trust reviewed by an attorney to ensure you are in compliance with the document.

Good luck to you!

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